Archive for March 26th, 2016

House fire in Northfield, 3-26-16

This from Larry Shapiro:

Northfield firefighters were called to 2050 Norfolk Road this afternoon (3/26/16) for a reported brush fire that was encroaching on a house. First arriving companies found smoke from the attic and requested a full Code 3 response before upgrading to a working fire Code 4 with visible fire in the attic. Automatic and mutual aid units included engines from Northbrook, Winnetka, and Glencoe, trucks from Glenview, Wilmete, and Northbrook, plus Highland Park Squad 33. The rear of the house was damaged along with the attic above the garage. The fire was out within 20 minutes of the initial call for service.

house fire aftermath with holes in the roof

Larry Shapiro photo

E-ONE e-MAX fire engine at fire scene

Larry Shapiro photo

North brook fire truck staged at fire scene

Larry Shapiro photo

E-ONE e-MAX fire engine at fire scene

Larry Shapiro photo

firefighters overhaul fire scene

Larry Shapiro photo

Glenview firefighter at fire scene

Larry Shapiro photo

firefighters overhaul fire scene

Larry Shapiro photo

Highland Park FD Spartan ERV fire engine

Larry Shapiro photo

aerial fire trucks at fire scene

Larry Shapiro photo

More photos are at


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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

An Elgin Fire Department lieutenant was demoted and two others also were disciplined after an investigation revealed they took explicit photos and videos of themselves and exchanged them while on duty, city officials said.

Lt. Amanda Bruce was demoted to firefighter, while firefighters John Sardina and Eric McMahon lost their special assignments, as driver and mechanic respectively, in agreements reached Tuesday between the employees, the International Association of Firefighters Local 439 and the city of Elgin, the documents of which the Daily Herald obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request.

The three received 20-day suspensions, and the city can terminate them if they display similar conduct in the next three years, the agreements state.

While on duty at Elgin fire stations, Bruce and Sardina took sexually oriented photos and videos of themselves, and McMahon took sexually oriented photos of himself, according to a Feb. 17 investigative report by the city’s professional standards officer, also released via the FOIA.

All materials depict the firefighters alone. Sardina and McMahon sent their own images to Bruce, and she sent her images to Sardina and an unnamed boyfriend, the report states. The photos and videos are from 2009 through 2013.

Fire Chief John Fahy said the employees have fully taken responsibility for their actions. “They never denied it and wanted to make amends for the misconduct that happened on duty a few years back.”

The Daily Herald submitted its FOIA request March 10. City officials asked for a five-day extension that would have run out Thursday. The timing of the disciplinary settlement was unrelated to the FOIA request, Fahy said.

“This was in the pipeline,” he said. “The extension was to release a complete package, because we were in negotiations with the employees and we were coming to the conclusion with the discipline.”

The materials include videos of Bruce in a fire station’s women’s bathroom and photos in various states of undress, the report states. Bruce told city officials she was on duty when she used her cellphone to take the photos and videos, and sent them using her personal email.

Sardina’s photos include some taken in fire station bathrooms; the video depicts him in his fire station bunk. In one photo, Sardina is coming out of a fire station shower with a towel around his waist; Bruce told city officials she took the photo, the report states.

McMahon’s selfies include some taken in the bathroom of Elgin fire stations, the report states.

Fahy said the matter surfaced nearly two years ago when Elgin Fire Battalion Chief Terrence Bruce reported to an assistant chief his then-wife Amanda had engaged in misconduct involving Sardina and McMahon, Fahy said.

The city asked Terry Bruce to bring in evidence of the allegations but then realized he couldn’t be compelled to do that and returned the evidence to him, City Manager Sean Stegall said.

The city obtained the evidence a few months later, after Amanda Bruce told Elgin police her then-husband “had gained unauthorized and possibly illegal access to certain personal information” including videos and photos. She made a police report in October 2014 saying Terry Bruce gave the materials to an attorney who served as a guardian ad litem for their children in divorce proceedings, the report states.

Elgin police obtained a copy of the materials from the attorney and conducted a criminal investigation that ended in April 2015, when the Kane County state’s attorney’s office determined criminal charges would not be pursued.

An administrative investigation was launched in May 2015 to find out if any of the misconduct took place while on duty. The lengthy process involved hiring a company to extract time and date stamps from the photos and videos, and comparing those to staffing records, Fahy said. “We were not in a hurry. We wanted to get this right.”

Fahy said he initially wanted to fire the three employees for the on-duty misconduct but changed his mind.

“These are three good employees with stellar records, and they had a bad day,” he said. “My decision to discipline them instead of termination is appropriate.”

thanks Dan

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Palatine dog rescued from sinkhole

Excerpts from

dog trapped in a sinkhole

Palatine Fire Department photo

Palatine police, firefighters, and public works crews teamed up Tuesday morning to rescue a dog after it had fallen into a sinkhole in the family’s backyard.

According to police, the 17-year-old dog disappeared after being let out in the backyard in the 700 block of East Glencoe Street. Police said it appears the dog fell through a small opening in the grass into a larger underground sinkhole and could not get out.

Two police officers who responded to a 6:22 a.m. call for help, along with the homeowner’s 16 year-old son, got shovels and began digging to free the trapped dog. The Palatine Police Animal Warden arrived to muzzle the frightened dog and allow continued digging.

The Palatine fire and public works crews also were called to the scene to assist with the extrication efforts and help prevent the hole from caving in.

thanks Dan

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NFPA 1901 updated

Excerpts from

NFPA 1901: Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus … some of the more influential changes.

Chapter 4: General requirements
Vehicle data recorders that can capture data to use in promoting safe driving and riding practices has been added as a requirement. Also, vehicles must now have a calculated center of gravity that is no greater than 80 percent of the vehicle’s height, as determined through tilt-table testing, or it must have a vehicle stability system (4.11 and 4.13).

The contractor shall also deliver with the fire apparatus the following documentation for the entire apparatus and each major operating system or major component of the apparatus (

And it’s a long list for sure, 20 items in total, that ensures that the firefighters who use the apparatus and the mechanics who service it will have the practical and technical information that they need.

The Fire Apparatus Manufacturers’ Association recently published its “Fire Apparatus Safety Guide.” This guide provides safety procedures essential to the safe apparatus operation, and it is item 20 in this document subsection.

The guide includes information on each of the hazards identified by the FAMA safety signs requirements that were added to both NFPA 1901 and 1906. This guide can help operators to more fully understand the risks pointed out by the safety signs posted at various points on apparatus.

A new statement of exceptions requires the manufacturer to deliver a certification that the apparatus meets estimated in-service weight requirements and its ability to meet stability requirements. It must also link the maximum stop speed to the GVWR and extinguishing agent tank capacity or the tire manufacturer’s ratings.

In lieu of such a certificate, the manufacturer must provide a statement that describes specifically what is not fully compliant and identifies who is responsible for achieving compliance (4.21).

Chapter 12: Chassis and vehicle components
New requirements were added for the operation and performance of diesel particulate filters installed on fire apparatus (

Chapter 14: Driving and crew areas
There are new requirements for the minimum length of seat belts along with instructions on how to properly measure them. The standard now requires a warning device that indicates when an occupant in a designated riding position is not wearing a seat belt. Seat belts may now be orange in addition to red (14.1.3).

All crew cabs on apparatus with a GVWR over 26,000 pounds (11,800 kg) must protect occupant during a crash. The revised document also says that occupants should not wear helmets while the vehicle is in motion due to the adverse impact the helmet has on the occupant restraint system. The standard also requires proper helmet storage during vehicle movement (

Chapter 15: Body, compartments, and equipment mounting
The revised standard includes more specific requirements for the use of retro-reflective striping on apparatus, particularly for the rear of the vehicle. That rear striping is now required to be in a chevron pattern sloping downward from the vehicle’s centerline at a 45-degree angle (

Chapter 16: Fire pumps and associated equipment
The chapter on industrial supply pumps rated over 3,000 gpm (12,000 L/min) was put in Chapter 16 along with fire pumps rated at 3,000 gpm or less. The differences in the requirements based on rated capacity were spelled out in the revised fire pump chapter.

A requirement was added for testing the accuracy of the gauges and flow meters during the pump-certification testing (

Chapter 20: Foam-proportioning systems
Foam systems must now be type tested for accuracy and certified by the system manufacturer. After installation, those systems must be tested and certified for proper operations by the final installer (20.11).

Chapter 22: Line voltage electrical systems
The material in this chapter has been reorganized and clarifications added. Changes to the chapter include: the protective ground from a shoreline inlet must be bonded to the vehicle frame; the neutral conductor must be switched through the transfer switch if there are multiple power sources; establishment of a minimum wire size for cords on permanently mounted reels; and a requirement that fixed scene lighting devices be tested and listed (22.7).

Chapter 24: Air systems
The standard now contains requirements for those who train fire department personnel on those air systems. A high-temperature alarm is required in the compressor compartment along with labels cautioning operators not to obstruct the airflow. Additionally, there are three other changes.

  • Compressors are required to be equipped with an air-quality monitoring system.
  • If the compressor is driven by an electric motor, a shoreline connection to the electric motor is required.
  • High-pressure air hose and couplings must have a pressure rating equal to or greater than the highest pressure expected to be encountered, with a 4-to-1 safety factor.

The requirements for the testing and certification of breathing air fill stations also have two significant changes: system testing must now be specific to the specific breathing air system, and there is a new section for testing utility air systems.

Chapter 26: Trailers
This is a new chapter with requirements for trailers used to transport equipment or other vehicles under emergency response conditions. Changes were made throughout the document where necessary to address the requirements for the tow vehicle.

Chapter 28: Ultra-high pressure pumps and associated equipment
The new chapter on ultra-high pressure fire pumps has been added because of the increased use of these fire pumps on fire apparatus.

The chapter’s requirements give guidance for manufacturers and purchasers of UHP pumps. These fire pumps have a rated discharge pressure of 1,100 psi (7,600 kPa) or greater.

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